COLIN Luthwood will swap martial arts for pounding the pavement for the next two weeks.
The Joondalup Martial Arts (JMA) co-founder and head instructor is preparing to run from Perth to Margaret River to raise awareness of depression and suicide.
The 278km journey will start this Friday at City Beach, with Mr Luthwood expected to reach the finish line on April 29.
Having taught martial arts for more than two decades, he said his work with children and teenagers inspired him to take up this challenge.
“One of the things that is prevalent in so many of our young people is the challenges they face with bullying,” he said.
“This can lead to our young people losing confidence in themselves, becoming self-conscious and insecure, resulting in depression and suicide.”
With his charity run, which will raise funds for beyondblue, Mr Luthwood hopes to highlight some of the major issues that cause depression and suicide among young people and be part of a solution.
“I chose Margaret River as the final destination because the issue is not limited to one area, group, stereotype, religion or race,” he said.
“It is diverse and it is not restricted to a postcode.
“We have had overwhelming support from the JMA community, with a doctor and massage therapist joining me for the 278km journey.”
Warwick Senior High School has also jumped on board, with a group of students running laps of the school oval from 7am to 4pm this Saturday, which will equate to the distance Mr Luthwood is running.
Bambara Primary School has also helped to raise money through its weekly running club.
Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard praised Mr Luthwood’s “generous spirit and compassion”.
“Colin is a great example to others; someone prepared to put in the hard yards to publicise and raise funds for a worthwhile cause,” he said.
“While Joondalup is one of the world’s most liveable cities, mental illness knows no barriers and our residents are not immune to issues such as suicide and depression.
“We must as a community overcome the stigma that stops people talking about mental health issues and seek support and treatment when it’s needed.
“On behalf of the City, I wish Colin and his support crew all the best on his long and important journey ahead.”
Mr Luthwood is asking people to send in photos of loved ones who have lost their battle with depression so he can have their photo printed on his t-shirt.
To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/colinluthwood.